TAMPA, Florida – About 1,200 doctoral students, faculty members and education leaders from across the country are gathering here through October 31 for an annual conference that spotlights the continuing shortage of minority faculty members and the issues facing young minority faculty members.
In the largest gathering of its kind, the Compact for Faculty Diversity’s 17th Annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring provides four days of leadership training, professional development, and networking opportunities for doctoral students who are studying for or interested in pursuing careers in higher education.
The primary aim of the conference is to increase the number of ethnic and racial minority faculty members at colleges and universities across the South and the rest of the United States. Roughly one-third of America’s college students are members of minority groups. Yet today, only about 5 percent of the professors at public four-year colleges in the United States are black, 3 percent are Hispanic and about 1 percent are Native American.
To help minorities new to the field of higher education become more effective teachers and researchers, this year’s Institute will focus special attention on junior faculty members, with a first-ever Institute conference featuring sessions on tackling the rigors of teaching, navigating the path to tenure, securing grants and getting published, among other topics.
The Institute is hosted by the Atlanta-based nonprofit Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) along with the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE), based in Boulder, Colorado, and participating colleges, universities and state agencies.
Many scholars at the Institute are participants in the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program, SREB’s award-winning initiative to encourage more minority doctoral students to pursue careers in higher education. The program has graduated more than 500 underrepresented minority doctoral students and offers them fellowships, mentors, professional development and more.
When the SREB’s doctoral program started in 1993, there were very few faculty members of color in the 16 SREB states outside of historically black colleges and universities. Since then, the program has provided assistance to more than 1,000 minority college students, 80 percent of whom now work in the field of education.
"Even with major gains in black, Hispanic and other underrepresented minorities in academia, a major shortage persists," said Ansley Abraham, the director of the SREB program. This year’s Institute will help these emerging scholars connect with each other and will provide junior faculty members with some of the skills and training they need to be outstanding scholars moving forward."
To learn more about the minority faculty shortage nationally and in your state, and to connect with minority Ph.D.-level students, graduates and faculty members from your state, contact SREB Communications.
The Southern Regional Education Board, or SREB, based in Atlanta, was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. More information is available online at www.sreb.org.